Idioms

Origin of bow

1
before 900; Middle English bowen (v.), Old English būgan; cognate with Dutch buigen; akin to German biegen, Gothic biugan, Old Norse buga, etc.

Related forms

bowed·ness, nounbow·ing·ly, adverb

Can be confused

bough bow

Synonym study

1. See bend1.

Definition for bow (2 of 4)

bow

2
[ boh ]
/ boʊ /

noun


adjective

curved outward at the center; bent: bow legs.

verb (used with or without object)

Origin of bow

2
before 1000; Middle English bowe (noun), Old English boga; cognate with Dutch boog, German Bogen, Old Norse bogi; akin to bow1

Related forms

bowed·ness, nounbow·less, adjectivebow·like, adjective

Can be confused

bode bowed

Definition for bow (3 of 4)

bow

3
[ bou ]
/ baʊ /

noun

Nautical, Aeronautics.
  1. the forward end of a vessel or airship.
  2. either side of this forward end, especially with reference to the direction of a distant object: a mooring two points off the port bow.
bows, Nautical. the exterior of the forward end of a vessel, especially one in which the hull slopes back on both sides of the stem.
the foremost oar in rowing a boat.
Also called bowman, bow oar. the person who pulls that oar.

adjective

of or relating to the bow of a ship.

Origin of bow

3
1620–30; < Low German boog (noun) or Dutch boeg or Danish bov; see bough

Definition for bow (4 of 4)

Bow

[ boh ]
/ boʊ /

noun

Clara,1905–65, U.S. film actress: known as the “It Girl.”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bow

British Dictionary definitions for bow (1 of 4)

bow

1
/ (baʊ) /

verb


noun

a lowering or inclination of the head or body as a mark of respect, greeting, or assent
take a bow to acknowledge or receive applause or praise
See also bow out

Word Origin for bow

Old English būgan, related to Old Norse bjūgr bent, Old High German biogan to bend, Dutch buigen

British Dictionary definitions for bow (2 of 4)

bow

2
/ (bəʊ) /

noun


verb

to form or cause to form a curve or curves
to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)

Word Origin for bow

Old English boga arch, bow; related to Old Norse bogi a bow, Old High German bogo, Old Irish bocc, and bow 1

British Dictionary definitions for bow (3 of 4)

bow

3
/ (baʊ) /

noun

mainly nautical
  1. (often plural) the forward end or part of a vessel
  2. (as modifier)the bow mooring line
rowing short for bowman 2
on the port bow nautical within 45 degrees to the port of straight ahead
on the starboard bow nautical within 45 degrees to the starboard of straight ahead
a shot across someone's bows informal a warning

Word Origin for bow

C15: probably from Low German boog; related to Dutch boeg, Danish bov ship's bow, shoulder; see bough

British Dictionary definitions for bow (4 of 4)

Bow

/ (bəʊ) /

noun

Clara, known as the It Girl . 1905–65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with bow

bow

In addition to the idioms beginning with bow

  • bow and scrape
  • bowl of cherries, life is just a
  • bowl over
  • bow out

also see:

  • take a bow
  • two strings to one's bow

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.